Research Shows EIBI Can Be Delivered Effectively in a Community-based Setting in Australia

Monday, April 23 2018

Australian Journal of Psychology Logo

L4Life is proud to announce the publication of our research titled Audit of outcomes following a community-based early intensive behaviour intervention program for children with autism in Australia in the peer reviewed Australian Journal of Psychology.

Research conducted by Learning For Life Autism Centre shows children who receive early intensive behavioural therapy in a community based setting for two years, on average, demonstrate significant increases in receptive and expressive language, and cognitive and adaptive behaviour skills.

This study provides confirmation for families who have children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that early intensive behaviour intervention, such as that provided at L4Life, is making a difference to their child’s life.

“This means families can be confident that the EIBI program is beneficial for their child,” said Sarah Wood, Educational and Developmental Psychologist at L4Life.

The study followed 32 children, who received an average of 20 hours of intervention per week for 24 months. L4Life compared assessments taken at the beginning and conclusion of the study. Results showed 45% of participants made ‘substantial gains’, 27.5% made ‘moderate gains’ and 27.5% made ‘minimal gains’.

“Even the children who have made minimal gains have gone a long way,” said Ms. Wood. “For example, for some children this may mean they are able to eat more than one or two types of foods, go to church with mum and dad, be able to wear their glasses, or even go to the park without experiencing sensory overload.”

Previous research studies have shown that EIBI is an effective treatment for children with ASD. However, these studies have primarily been conducted in university-based settings, as opposed to a community based setting.  L4Life’s study aimed to answer the question of whether the outcomes of well-funded university-based EIBI research could be replicated in a community-based program in Australia.

This research showed that early and intensive intervention programs in the home (by a therapist with support from family members) can deliver the same or similar outcomes as those in a university research setting.

This significant milestone for L4Life was made possible by the generosity of the Grace and Emilio Foundation, and the O’Donohue Group Foundation. A huge thank you to these supporters, our staff, families, mentors and board members involved.

Sarah Wood said more research is needed to refine EIBI programs further.

“More research will help us predict what variables will influence outcomes for each child, and whether we can do something different to help each child reach their full potential,” she said. “For example, do we start earlier? Do we need more intensive therapy? Or, are there key skills that we need to teach in the first few months of therapy that will make larger difference?”

Learning For Life currently has multiple ABA research projects underway. We are always open to opportunities to partner with universities in our ongoing research.